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The InfoQ article on the First CSD Course

Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/billselak/461062697/sizes/s/This week, InfoQ published an article about the first Certified Scrum Developer class held by Ron Jeffries and Chet Hendrickson a few weeks ago. There has been a lot of fuss from the people quoted in the article that it misrepresents them and takes things out of context.

Perhaps that is the case, as I wasn’t there. But having already read Dave’s feedback on the class that the article was based off of, it pretty much summed up what my interpretations of the class were – there were struggles, and there were challenges, but overall it was a good and worthwhile class to attend, and that they were being “certified” was secondary to the class.

Here’s the deal – most people, in my experience, don’t think of the certification as “secondary”. Which is why certifications like the CSD and associated CSM classes are designed for one thing – repeatability. The class I get from Ron and Chet should be the same as what I get from someone else. Sure, there will be local differences in instructors. But the certification itself shouldn’t be based on the skills of the instructor.

Think about it this way. In his post, Dave talked about how the teams were not able to deliver stories every sprint. These are some of the top coaches and agile people available. While a team struggling is no surprise, what we should be asking ourselves is this:

1) If the team struggled, how were they helped to understand that?
2) If they struggled, how many others would struggle, and be much worse?
3) In light of that, how many instructors could guide them back to where they should be while keeping it a teachable moment?

Certainly I trust that Ron and Chet are highly capable of doing that. And I’d recommend anyone to take a class with Ron and Chet. But here’s the rub – the CSD is *not* Ron and Chet. In fact, the CSD program is not even limited to being taught by CSTs! Yep, anyone can apply to teach it.

Of course, if you are a CST, you have priority access. But, get this – so do Microsoft “MVP’s” in “Application Lifecycle Management”. Yep, people who may not have even heard of Scrum or even practiced it can sign up to be a CSD instructor!

Seriously, what the heck? Are these ALM MVPs going to be able to lead a class of people through the exercises? Can they help with the finer points of adopting agile. Are we going to trust that they can certify people to be Scrum Developers?

And that’s the thing – I don’t question Ron and Chet’s class. Neither, I think, did the InfoQ article. As Vikas said in the closing sentence:

Hence, though there were some valuable learnings coming back from the first CSD course, however it seemed that the value and the nature of the CSD certification still leaves more questions to be answered.

Darn right the “value” and “nature” of the CSD should be questioned. It’s all roses right now, because we just see the tip. But the water they are growing in is filled with festering money-grubbers and clueless managers who will twist and exploit this to great delight. And if that’s not enough to stop us from certifying people in this, then it’s just because of the ray of sunshine shining on the pot of money that is blinding us from it.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Rod Claar May 28, 2010, 10:31 am

    Hi Cory,

    Thanks for your questions. Let me clear a couple of things up about the CSD program. For full disclosure, I’m on staff with the Scrum Alliance helping administer the program.

    Firstly, focusing on the CSD is a little short sighted. Certified Scrum Developer is the first training program in the new Scrum Alliance Registered Education Provider program (SA-REP) http://www.scrumalliance.org/SA-REP. The Scrum Alliance is seeking applications from training organizations that have something to offer the Scrum community. There are 10 organizations listed right now and several more are in the final stages of approval, including a branch of a major university. These organizations are screened for experience and demonstrated expertise in developing and administering training programs. The application process also reviews the resume of each course designer and trainer submitted by the applying organization. Lastly each course is reviewed relative to the leaning objectives for the program. Once a new SA-REP is approved and they have approved courses and trainers they are given the ability to list public courses on the Scrum Alliance site.

    The SA-REP program is also setting up to assess and review the courses and trainers that deliver training in the program. The details of how this will be administered is still under development, however the goal is to help improve the quality of training and give students they information they need to select training that is valuable to them.

    The CSD program is an SA-REP program. Every SA-REP that submits a course and trainers for CSD-Eligible status are reviewed as I described. The program includes Scrum knowledge as well as an aggressive set of technical learning objectives for developers working on Scrum teams. These include the practices of Test-First, Test Driven Development, Continuous Integration, Agile Analysis and Agile Architecture.

    So far we have 2 Java based programs approved and one .NET. We have applications currently being reviewed for Ruby and another Java program. There are training opportunities currently available on four continents.

    With the massive improvements in Visual Studio 2010 and the new Application Lifecycle Management abilities of the new Microsoft Tools the Scrum Alliance is seeking qualified and experienced trainers on the platform. This why the application asks if the trainer is qualified in this area thought the programs listed. The application process reviews the Scrum training ability and experience of all applicants and if any trainer does not have demonstrated experience in Scrum, the Scrum Alliance will work with the organization to partner with an experienced Scrum trainer to help them with that part of the program.

    BTW, I don’t see any “festering money-grubbers” listed as SA-REPs. Who are you referring to? I see qualified, experienced training organizations offering much needed training for developers and other professionals working on Scrum teams.

    If you or any of your readers have any other questions about the SA-REP or CSD programs, feel free to contact me directly.

    Rod Claar
    SA-REP /CSD Program Community Liaison